We at Habitat talk about Tithe a lot. I’m sure many of you hear that word when you attend your Sunday church services. Most of us have an understanding that Tithe, as described in biblical terms, refers to sharing first fruits and giving 10%.
As a foundational principal within the Habitat ministry, Tithe is a principal we at Lakes Area Habitat embrace with joy and celebration. Giving of our resources ensures those in countries around the world can deliver Habitat programs lifting more families out of poverty and improving overall health.
I recently had the privilege of joining with 11 other Habitat leaders from across the country for a five-day Service-Learning trip to the Dominican Republic. I am so thankful for the Board of Directors encouraging and supporting me to go. After 25 years of working at Habitat, it was time to witness what Tithe means to the countries who receive those funds.
The five-day trip was short but impactful. I reflected with the group as we wrapped up our time that all the wonderful emails, stories, videos and messages from our Tithe partners (we support Habitat Haiti and Habitat Guatemala with monthly funds) doesn’t compare to seeing the need and the outcome of the work.
During our time, we learned about the work Habitat DR does – we visited families whose homes were completed by or under construction with the help of Habitat. We toured two communities of great need where Habitat’s work will be present for years to come in an effort to serve all those community members with decent shelter. And, we rolled up our sleeves and gave a day of service by pouring 2 concrete floors as a part of Habitat’s Latin America/Caribbean effort to build “100,000 floors to play on.”
The family my team served, Rosalinda and her three children, live in a 38 square meter home with a dirt floor – no stove, no running water – but home nonetheless with a roof, walls, and doors. Our work of mixing concrete and carrying by wheelbarrow into the home was hard but every one of us knew how important it was to give Rosalinda a chance to raise her children with a simple, basic, safe, concrete floor beneath their feet. When we finished her floor, we all were covered in sweat and concrete but filled with smiles as Rosalinda thanked us with tears flowing down her cheeks. She knows her children’s health will improve and that they no longer will be in mud every time it rains.
Habitat International is ever so slowly opening up Global Village trips with test groups like the one I was a part of to see how ready countries are to receive groups in our post-Covid world. I hope some of you will raise your hand and join one of these teams. I just can’t fully describe what it means to serve like this but I can say I have a much deeper appreciation for our commitment to Tithe.